Monthly Archives: February 2008

Preparing To Cast Off the Docklines

All those last minute things to do before leaving the dock for an extended cruise.  It is such an exciting time.  Filling the fuel and water tanks to capacity.  Lashing extra fuel and water to the deck in jerry jugs.  Securing all items on deck, bicycles, surfboards, kayaks, jerry jugs, anchors, etc.  Stocking up on stores: food, toiletries, clean linens, rum! Checking the route, the weather, the charts…  Paying up all debts, arranging mail forwarding or holding, getting up to date on prescriptions and immunizations, saying goodbyes…Stowing all items properly to prevent chaos and injury in a rolling sea.  Items must be lashed down or behind locked cabinet doors.  Having most meals prepared in advance for offshore passages, so whoever is on watch has only to unwrap and eat.  This takes pressure off the crew to prepare meals while underway.  Make sure the Dramamine is on hand for the crew and a bit a rum for the captain.  Run jacklines on the deck and get the harnesses and life vests ready for offshore passages.  File a floatplan with family and authorities.  Have good books and good music ready.  Stash a little, but not too much, cash.  Get the foul weather gear out and ready to don quickly.  Make sure all lines are able to run free and sails will be unobstructed when you are ready to unfurl or raise them.  If it’s cold, have appropriate clothing to keep warm.  If it’s warm, keep the sunscreen and shade handy. Get a good night’s sleep the night before.  This is easier said than done. Discuss with captain and crew what sort of watch schedule you’ll be keeping.  Use a watch with an alarm to let you know when it’s time to take over, and wake up. Make sure your radio, VHF, Epirb, ditch bag, life raft are functional and ready to use in an emergency. Check the weather, check the weather, check the weather.  The weather decides your schedule, not you!